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Home NATIONALControversy over number of deaths caused by dogs
Mon, 27 Jan, 2014 02:27:48 AM
FTimes-STT Report, January 27
Photo Lehtikuva.
There has been much debate over the exact number of recent deaths caused by dogs in the country, after different figures were claimed by an investigation of a television online programme and the authority of Kennel Club, an organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs.
According to YLE MOT online programme, scheduled to be telecast on Monday morning, dogs have killed or contributed to the death of a dozen people in recent years.
Chairman of the Kennel Club Helena Suni, however, expressed disagreement over the data, saying the Club was only aware of three deaths as a result of dog attacks in the last 20 years.
Photo Lehtikuva.
The producers of the programme revealed to the STT on Sunday that the number of deaths is based on direct attack by dogs or deaths caused by infection as a result of dog bites.
The Kennel Club, however, said some deaths might be caused by severe allergies and therefore cannot be attributed as a direct cause of death.
According to the MOT programme, about 8,000 dogs in the country have been registered and categorised as either dangerous or difficult to manage.
In contrast, the Kennel Club said no breed of dog in Finland is categorised as dangerous or difficult to manage. 
The programme specifically mentions Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the Bull Terrier as dangerous breeds whose importation and breeding was banned in Germany.
Photo Lehtikuva.
According to Suni, no breed of dog is banned in Finland.
According to the programme, owners of dangerous breed of dogs in Germany are required to test the dog and they have to prove that they themselves have no criminal record.
Voluntary dog testing in Finland is also possible as Suni said some clubs in the country arrange for such testing.
According to a list of dog related deaths from 1994-2008, posted by the Finnish language newspaper Turun Sanomat on its website archive, 13 cases were cited based on police data and Statistics Finland’s cause of death statistics.
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